A Survey of American Symphony Orchestra Programming for the 2003-04 Season

Volumen 1, septiembre 2008

by: Jeffrey P. Thuerauf
Arizona State University, Tempe

Studies conducted in the twentieth century showed that large orchestras tended to program conservatively, with relatively few composers dominating the majority of concert programming. In this study I examined music programming for the 2003-04 season through a random sample of five orchestras from each of eight categories (N=40) defined by the American Symphony Orchestra League (ASOL). Analysis revealed that American symphonic programming favors the Romantic style period, and that the number of concerts for the 2003-04 season differed significantly across orchestra categories (p<.05), though concert lengths were statistically similar. A Friedman ANOVA used to test the rank order of program time devoted to music of each of the four most recent style periods (Modern, Romantic, Classical, and Baroque) across the eight orchestra categories revealed a significantly similar ranking (p<.0001). A one-way ANOVA showed that the programmed Modern music works tended to be shorter than works from other style periods (p<.0001). This study took into account eight orchestra categories, something not done in earlier studies. Style period analysis is recommended for the entire history of American symphonic programming.


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